Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Word Witch Wednesday - reviewing 2017's goals and looking to 2018


It's that wonderful time of the year where we sit down with holiday treats and make plans for next year. I'm sharing my cookies, if you'd like one.

2017 Goals

1. Write and published the TOTEM books. Done! A nine novella series. Yikes! I had a lot of fun with it, but I don't think I'll take on a series as long as that again. Trilogies sound perfect in my mind right now.

2. Self-publish the nine books I had with my publisher. I did that at the beginning of the year. Will I be writing more in the erotic romance genre? I don't know. I might if I'm in the mood for something light and funny.

3. Write the first drafts of the second two books in the Of Blood and Sorrow trilogy. I didn't do this one. My feet have been dragging these past few months. I will finish one before the holidays. I'm right at the big climax, but I won't start on the final one until January.

4. Read and review 100 books. I'm right on track with 93. Only 7 more to go!

5. Write and submit six short stories. Done. I'm constantly learning and improving. I wrote a lot of speculative fiction this year.

6. Study and try various marketing techniques. Ugh. This was my big time suck this year. I lost a lot of writing time to trying to figure out how to market my work. The only lesson I learned that will work: write more books.

7. Improve my writing speed and focus. I started the year off well with word sprints, but it got lost under my worrying about marketing.

2018 Goals

1. Write and release the second two books in the Of Blood and Sorrow trilogy. I haven't set release dates yet for my own sanity.

2. Read and review 100 books. This is a good number for me. I will try to do it every year for the rest of my life.

3. Write and submit ten short stories. I'm upping the number for this coming year. I can do a flash piece in an afternoon. It will be a nice break from the dark world of my trilogy when I need it.

4. Write more, market less. This year, I only wrote in the afternoons... if I had any time left. Next year, I'm making time in the morning and afternoon. Marketing will be scheduled for very limited times. Hopefully that will decrease my anxiety over it.

5. Take up the word sprints again and increase my writing speed. I'm hoping I'll write more with less marketing anxiety to weigh me down.

6. Work on new project. I have several written down I want to write. I'm not going to name one right now, because I might come up with something new and want to work on it! I'll go with what I'm feeling passionate for in that moment.

Did you meet your goals this year? What are yours for next year?

I'll be back on Christmas Day with a special surprise!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

#IWSG for December 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are: Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!

Before this month's question, I wanted to share with you an exciting event coming next month. It's a fabulous way to start off 2018.



Create a Twitter-length pitch for your completed and polished manuscript and leave room for genre, age, and the hashtag. On January 18, Tweet your pitch. If your pitch receives a favorite/heart from a publisher/agent check their submission guidelines and send your requested query. Read the rules HERE.

Many writers have seen their books published from a Twitter pitch - it’s a quick and easy way to put your manuscript in front of publishers and agents.

Our first #IWSGPit was amazing!
We had about 2300 Tweets and became a trending topic on Twitter.

The next #IWSGPit will be Thursday, January 18, 2018!
8:00 am - 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time


December's IWSG Optional Question: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

I would spend less time worrying about marketing and more time writing. At the beginning of the year, I was determined to improve my marketing skills. I don't know if I did that, but I now know what doesn't work for me. I spent half my days just on marketing alone, and that's way too much. What I did learn is that writing your next book is the best thing you can do.

I'm a book behind where I want to be right now, but I'm trying not to stress out about it. I didn't set any deadlines for publication. Being my own boss is sometimes nice, but I'm hard on myself often.

2018 will be about writing and publishing novels. Two at the very least. I don't know which project I'll go on to after I finish my Of Blood and Sorrow trilogy, but I have a lot of ideas!

Have a fantastic holiday season, IWSG!

P.S. If you have any news you'd like me to share in the IWSG newsletter, please send me an email at christinerains.writer@gmail.com. We love to celebrate with our members. And if you haven't signed up for the IWSG newsletter yet, click here to do so. We have great articles and writing resources in it. This month we have a top book cover designer sharing a few tips, and in January, our industry guest is New York Times best selling author, Jennifer Estep.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Signup For the Book Holly-Days!


Attention authors with books on Kindle Unlimited!

Book Holly-Days is an awesome free promo event hosted by Fantasy Book Giveaways. We're celebrating everyone spending their Amazon gift cards after filling their bellies with yummy stuff and enjoying time with family. Then it's time for a break and snuggling up with a good book.


The hosts are holding a giveaway with a gift card prize. All you have to do is make sure your books are on Kindle Unlimited and promote the event by sharing on social media.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Word Witch Wednesday - purging and organization


While lots of folks were out buying stuff this past weekend, I spent hours purging. We cleaned out the garage and installed a ceiling storage shelf. I can now open my car door without hitting anything. I combed the backyard, picking up toys and raking. I had my son sort through his massive collection of water guns and water toys and reduced it down to one bin. I cleaned out the kitchen and stripped the wallpaper off the wall to prep it for painting.

What does this have to do with writing? I cleaned and organized my email and writing folder. I keep emails of contests and anthologies. I missed several of them, but I still had the notes. I sorted various stories, articles, and critiques into their proper folders, and organized images.

While I'm doing this all physically (and digitally!), it helps to tidy me up mentally. The cobwebs have been brushed away, and I've got all this new space. Space for potential stories. I've had so many pop up in my head this past weekend.

Plus it gives me room to rev up and finish off my current WIP. It's been slow-going lately, and perhaps it's because I was feeling mentally crowded. So much to do, so little time.

Yet now I see I can do it all. I've made lists and scheduled time slots. Funny how a neat house and a few lists can make everything seem so clear.

How often do you purge and organize?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thank You To All My Readers


Have I told you how awesome you are lately? You are. Every single one of you. I'm so grateful to you all for encouraging and supporting me.

I've celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with my family up north last month. Now I'm prepping for Thanksgiving with my American family and friends. And while I can't send pie over the internet, I can share with you free books.

To those celebrating, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

And for everyone, have a laugh and a bit of steaminess!



Monday, November 20, 2017

Disposal Release Blog Tour

The Lazy Housewife on Garage Grunge

In my home, there are several dumping grounds: a junk drawer or two, the kids' closets, my dining room, and the garage. Junk and stuff is so hard to keep up with. I don't want to just throw it away, but I don't have time to put it away properly, so I'll just put it here for a while till I can get to it... Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Well, this post is focused on the garage. It's a different kind of clutter. It's mostly filled with car stuff, yard stuff, miscellaneous machinery and tools, and toys/sporting goods. So here are my suggestions on having a clean garage:

  • The key to having a clean garage is a timely PURGE. We try to get to it twice a year, as the seasons change between warm and cold. Every year more toys are donated or dumped as my kids get older. It only makes sense.
  • The Fall brings lots of leaves and usually half a tree's worth ends up blowing into our garage. A BLOWER is a great tool for cleaning them out.
  • I love organization. Most people have shelving units, tool racks, and bins for toys and shoes in their garage, but my hubs went a step above and built HIGH SHELVES over the garage doors for off-season storage. (We recently did a major purge as we are moving soon, that's why they look empty)
  • HOOKS are also great for hoisting ladders, bikes and other stuff that's only used for part of the year, up and out of the way.

  • Lastly, Christine asked about oil stains... I had to ask the hubs about that, the garage is his turf after all... He said de-greasers are good, but POWDER LAUNDRY DETERGENT and a scrub brush work pretty well too. For fresh spills, absorb as much as possible before cleaning.
  • A fresh coat of PAINT is also a nice touch for sprucing up banged up walls and doors--like where our garbage cans sit.

Thanks so much for having me here and helping me shout out my new release, Christine.
Hope this was helpful!

DISPOSAL by Tara Tyler
Pop Travel, Book Three

Cooper and Geri are finally in a good place, but their bliss is short-lived when Cooper's rebellious nephew Jimmy moves in with them for a summer internship. He hits the town hard and thinks he's found the girl of his dreams in an fiery, exotic beauty. Against all words of warning, he pursues her and ends up getting kidnapped by her powerful Drug Lord father. Geri tracks him down, but gets herself kidnapped as well.

Now it's up to Cooper to use all his resources to save them, including the hot homicide detective Geri secretly despises, and the latest sketchy gadgets his genius friend Hasan offers him to field-test. Sure, why not? Cooper will do anything to get his family back.

KINDLE <=> Paperback (coming soon)



About the Author:
Tara Tyler is a math teacher who writes to share her passion for reading with others. She loves dogs, coffee, and is the lazy housewife, living in a world of boys with three sons and a coach husband. Join her for an adventure!

Book One           Book Two


To join in the celebration, take Tara Tyler's SURVEY- which will automatically enter you for a PRIZE! Drawing and winners announced on December 15th.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Celebrating the release of Disposal

I love this series of books, and it makes me so excited to be able to share with you the release of the third one!
 
DISPOSAL by Tara Tyler
Pop Travel, Book Three

Cooper and Geri are finally in a good place, but their bliss is short-lived when Cooper's rebellious nephew Jimmy moves in with them for a summer internship. He hits the town hard and thinks he's found the girl of his dreams in an fiery, exotic beauty. Against all words of warning, he pursues her and ends up getting kidnapped by her powerful Drug Lord father. Geri tracks him down, but gets herself kidnapped as well.

Now it's up to Cooper to use all his resources to save them, including the hot homicide detective Geri secretly despises, and the latest sketchy gadgets his genius friend Hasan offers him to field-test. Sure, why not? Cooper will do anything to get his family back.

KINDLE <=> Paperback (coming soon)



About the Author:
Tara Tyler is a math teacher who writes to share her passion for reading with others. She loves dogs, coffee, and is the lazy housewife, living in a world of boys with three sons and a coach husband. Join her for an adventure!

Pop Travel & Simulation - The Cooper Chronicles
Broken Branch Falls & Cradle Rock - Beast World fantasy series


To celebrate, you can take Tara Tyler's SURVEY- which will automatically enter you for a PRIZE!

Here is the DISPOSAL blog tour schedule:

FRI, NOV 17 - Tyrean Martinson - 5 Things that will get you published!

MON, NOV 20 - Christine Rains - The Lazy Housewife talks Garage Goals
THU, NOV 23 - Juneta Key - I'm Thankful for where I am

MON, NOV 27 - Patricia Lynne -
THU, NOV 30 - Diane Burton - The Lazy Housewife talks Bathroom Blues

WED, DEC 6 - MJ Fifield - Special IWSG: Will anyone like me? Will anyone care?
FRI, DEC 8 - Elizabeth Seckman - The Journey of the Really Real Housewives

MON, DEC 11 - C. Lee McKenzie -

Monday, November 13, 2017

Remakes Blogfest


Most of remakes suck. Big time. And they're making so many of them nowadays! Yet there is that moment when one comes along that is better than the original.

The marvelous hosts of this blogfest, Alex J. Cavanaugh and Heather M. Gardner, want to read about those remakes that don't suck. Be it movies, music, or books. Click HERE to find a linky list of participants and discover some awesome remakes.

I've watched a lot of movies in my years. Many of them horror flicks. I'm much more into the suspense side of the horror genre now, but once upon a time, it's was all about the gore. One of my favorite movies was Sam Raimi's Evil Dead. So when I heard they were remaking it, I refused to see the new one. No way. Bruce Campbell rules!

But I couldn't resist watching a little of the remake...


And then all of it. The 2013 remake was awesome! It didn't try to capture Raimi's quirkiness and the star didn't try to be Bruce Campbell. It stood on its own. It's gory, nightmare level, but it isn't trashy. Highly recommended for horror fans.

What are your favorite remakes?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Word Witch Wednesday - the ever evolving land of book marketing


One of the things that cause me the most stress is marketing. I just want to write! But it's part of an author's job to market their work too. So I do a lot of research. When I think I have a handle on things and make a plan, the world of book marketing changes. And it keeps changing.

1. Newsletters. At the beginning of the year, this was the new big thing. Build your email list! Now people are pulling back from them. There are just too many, and several of them are just vehicles for authors to promote other authors' books. I've unsubscribed from dozens of them, because as a reader, I'm interested in the writer I subscribed to, not ads for other people's books.

Is it still good to have a newsletter? Yes. Remember though, you are sending it out to readers. They want to know about you and your work. I've changed the way I set up my newsletter and send it out only once a month. They're shorter and more personal, like an email to a friend. I've gotten far less unsubscribes this way.

2. Blogs. You can find articles proclaiming blogging is going out of style or has been out for a long time. Yes, some people have left blogging and turned to other social media. Time is precious, and people don't want to spend it reading long articles.

Should you give up blogging? No. If you have the time to invest in it, it can be worthwhile. I use my blog to connect with writers and readers. I love the community of author bloggers I follow. The support and encouragement of fellow writers is invaluable. I've cut back to once a week, but I can't see myself ever closing down my blog.

3. Social Media. We've heard this before: it's like shouting into the void. No one's going to hear you. It doesn't sell books. Many articles counsel stepping back from spending time on social media and just writing instead. Which is good advice. We shouldn't be spending too much time on social media. Writing more stories is the number one priority for an author.

So no more social media? It can help as long as you remember that social media is for being social. It's for interaction, and if that's something you really enjoy, go find where your audience is. Mingle and make connections.

4. Paid Ads. So many seem to fail. Writers aren't rich folks. Spending money on an ad that won't even make you the money back you spent on it is useless. The once popular paid ad sites are no longer attracting readers. Only BookBub gets sales, and very few of us can afford them.

From my research, one thing almost everyone agrees on is that paid ads do work... IF you know where your audience is. It does take a lot of research to find out where best to promote your books. If you're doing a 99 cent sale or offering up a book for free for a limited time, this is when paying for an ad can help.

What have you noticed that has changed in the book marketing world recently?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

#IWSG for November 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are: Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass!

November's IWSG optional question: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

I love NaNoWriMo. I'd been doing it for years before my son was born. These days, November has too many family events going on for me to participate, but I still cheer for all the participants.

I always finished my NaNo projects, and the majority of them I finished in November. Were they all good stories? Nope. I have most of them shelved where they will likely stay forever. But I have published one of them, and it is my most highly rated book: Of Blood and Sorrow. It was my 2011 NaNo project. Notice it wasn't published until 2015. A lot of work went into fixing it up and prepping it for release.

This month's insecurity: I'm currently writing the sequel to Of Blood and Sorrow. It's heavy and dark, and oh, how I torture my poor protagonist. I worry that this new book isn't going to be as good as the first. I dropped one of the main characters, and I don't know how readers will feel about that.

I'm also trying to tell myself to be patient. I might be able to finish the first draft quickly, but to polish it up like first book, it's going to take time. I want to set myself a deadline for release in spring of next year, but I know I shouldn't. Not until I'm certain that's realistic. Plus, I want the third book in the trilogy written by the time the second is released too.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Trick-or-Treat Book Blog Hop

http://patricialynne.weebly.com/trick-or-treat-reads.html
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

It's my favorite day of the year. The lovely autumn weather, the costumes, and all those wonderful treats. And there are no better treats than books!

It's the fourth year of the Trick-Or-Treat Book Blog Hop from Patricia Lynne! You don't even have to walk to go out to get your treats. Just click HERE to find a list of participating authors and go get your free books.

I'm happy to have the first book of my newest urban fantasy series TOTEM for free! And in case you're busy hanging out with the vampires and ghosts today, I'm extending the freebie to five full days. Just click on the image below to get Dark Dawning for free.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KYAPC8K

You can always get my thrilling paranormal romance novellas, Fearless and The Marquis (The 13th Floor, #1) for free.

Grab some chocolate, because there's even more fun to be had. Untethered Realms is touring with their awesome new anthology, Spirits in the Water. My horror sci-fi story "Frozen" is included in the collection. Check out the huge giveaway for a chance to win a gift card, a mug, signed books, ebooks, and a hand made treasure box with goodies in it.

http://untetheredrealms.blogspot.com/2017/10/spirits-in-water-tour-giveaway.html

Monday, October 30, 2017

Mistakes of the Past Blitz! - guest post about creating a fictional town


Thornwood: Creating a fictional town

I have a habit in my writing, I don’t often use real places. In my YA, Snapshots, the city Cyc lives in, I didn’t have a name until one of the very last drafts. I picked a name along the lines of Los Angeles and had a bit of meaning. In Path of Angels, and Abducted Life, there are no names for the towns the characters are from. It just wasn’t important to the story.

But when it came to Mistakes of the Past, I needed a town name because it matters to Rose. She wants to escape the town and the tragedy attached. Plus, the characters kept talking about the place. When I introduce Rose, she’s looking at the name to the town!

Many writers will use real places, but that has its downsides. You gotta get details right. That’s hard if you don’t live near the place. And trust me, someone who lives there will let you know. This is the main reason why I often make up the places where my characters live. I can arrange it how I need it to and don’t have to worry about getting it wrong and throwing readers out of the scene.

Of course, that’s not to say I don’t get inspiration from real towns and cities.

Thornwood is actually a mix of two towns I grew up around: Newberry and Curtis, Michigan. Curtis is a tiny, little tourist trap. You can drive through it in a minute. Newberry is bigger, but not by much. I mashed them together to get a small town where most everyone knows each other, but it’s also big enough for a hospital. Both aren’t too far from where I currently live, so the inspiration for the city (which I never bothered to name) is inspired by that. Although, that city is much bigger than the one I live in.

Will I ever use a real life place for a story? Yeah. It will probably be somewhere I have visited or can easily. That will allow me to make sure the streets I use are accurate and makes sense.


Luc seeks atonement for the actions that banished him from his home. Living as a priest in a small town, he strives to show how much he’s changed with the hope that one day he can return to his family.

Haunted by the guilt that destroyed her family, Rose has shut her heart off. She vows to never let anyone near again lest she hurt them. When she meets Luc, she can’t deny the draw she feels to him.

But the past is not easily forgotten. When Luc’s past finds him, Rose is caught in the middle. Forced to face who he used to be, Luc must decide if he’s willing to give up his chance at redemption to save Rose. But doing so means he won’t be able to hide who he is. Will Rose be able to reconcile the man she knows with the devil he used to be? Or are the mistakes of the past too damning?

Buy the book:

About the Author:
Patricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was all about art. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn't regretted a moment. She writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow, and an obsession with Doctor Who.

Find Patricia on: Twitter * Google+ * Website * Newsletter * Wattpad * Goodreads * Books
 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Reminder about the #IWSG Short Story Contest

Have you written your story for the IWSG contest yet?


Eligibility: Any member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is encouraged to enter – blogging or Facebook member. The story must be previously unpublished. Entry is free.

Word count: 3500-6000

Genre: Mystery/Crime/Thriller

Theme: Tick Tock. The story revolves around a clock, is time sensitive, or has something about a specific time. This theme has plenty of scope and we’re open to pretty much anything along these lines. No erotica, R-rated language, or graphic violence.

Story deadline: November 1st, 2017

How to enter: Send your polished, previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com before the deadline passes. Please format double-spaced, size 12 font, and no headers or footers. Include your contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging or Facebook IWSG group.

* * * * *

IWSG Show Your Writer Insecurity Contest Winners

This contest was so much fun! Thank you to everyone who participated. We loved seeing your pictures. It was hard to pick only three. Everyone deserves a round of applause.

Third place: J Lenni Dorner

Second place: Mary Aalgaard

And the grand prize winner who also finally told all his Facebook friends he’s a writer: Ken Rahmoeller

Monday, October 16, 2017

Guest post by Lisa Griffin - Ways A Fiction Writer Can Find Freelance Work Online

I'm excited to welcome Lisa Griffin to my blog today to share with you some tips on how to find freelance work. I'm over at the IWSG blog talking about critique group etiquette.

Ways a fiction writer can find freelance work online
There are many opportunities to start a career as a writer. To implement most of them, the freelance home writers need to use all their skills. A freelance writer is a person who writes texts without entering into an employment relationship with any company or publishing house that acts as a small entrepreneur or an independent contractor.
You can engage in freelancing on an ongoing basis, turning writing activity into a source of livelihood, or use it as a part-time supplement to income from the primary job. Also, you can do it for fun, or you can sharpen your skills by adding a list of competencies to your resume. This article outlines the basics that will help you make it easier for you to get a job if you are a freelance fiction writer.
1. Set a goal and work on your skills.
If you plan to engage yourself in journalism and write for an online newspaper, allocate as much time as you need to earn a decent living. This means that you may have to work early in the morning or in the evenings, using any free minute, even on weekends. This first and foremost practice will test your strength and motivation. Be ready to be paid hourly, but remember to constantly improve your skills to increase personal rate.
2. Be active in the writing environment.
There are many groups and associations of freelance writers around the world. Become a part of them to get acquainted with other authors, get practical advice and strengthen your positions as a self-sufficient writer. A quick Internet search will help you find a local organization operating in your area. Look for a group that conducts meetings, workshops, arranges interviews with guests and provides recommendations on writing, publishing and marketing products, contacts with various publishers and their Internet counterparts. Membership in such organizations can bring you recognition and diversity of future orders.
3. Start organizing your portfolio.
It is essential to illustrate your skills in the portfolio to attract potential employers. Beginners can start writing small free articles for non-commercial sites. Thus, you will be able to engage in the professional activity and most importantly get the material published under your name, which you can show to potential employers and customers. You need such a portfolio for them to take you seriously and offer you a job.
Start collaborating with well-known websites or blogs that allow you to publish articles on a voluntary basis. Contact their owners and explain what you want to do for the portfolio and would like to write something for free, if only your name was mentioned as an author.
4. Set up a blog
Why look for best paid blog writing jobs, when you can set up your web page? If you are experienced in freelance creative writing, you have probably written a bunch of articles and long reads. Gather them in a blog.
If you are a beginner in a writing field and looking for
freelance writing jobs from home, you can start a blog, where you can share own thoughts and ideas. Tell people about teaching or learning and develop own memorable style.
If you are an editor, you can still come across a job in blogging. Look through popular blog pages, advice bloggers to edit and proofread their texts.
5. Start looking for copywriting work.
Once you feel that you are capable of writing like a professional, think about what you would like to write about and start communicating with people. Find publishers you'd like to work with, and read their guidelines. Do not write queries and articles that cannot be published due to non-compliance with the required conditions. It's like going to an interview without having studied the affairs of the company which you want to become your employer. Conduct market research and form your target. And be sure to send a request to major publishers before sending a finished article, unless you are willing to spend precious time on material that will never be published.

Lisa Griffin
is an author for https://customwriting.com/ and blogger. This successful woman knows a lot about how to stay motivated and inspired. Lisa is always ready to give opportune advice and provide assistance. Lisa’s motto is “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” She loves traveling and expanding her horizons. Working with people is Lisa’s real passion.